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McKesson Pharmacy of the Year winners put patient care, community first

BY David Salazar

If anyone needed evidence that the independent pharmacy is more to its patients than simply a place to get prescriptions filled, they need look no further than the McKesson Pharmacy of the Year Grand Prize winner and the three regional winners recognized by McKesson at ideaShare 2016. All of the winners share a special commitment to being an indispensible resource and healthcare destination for the communities they serve, and have a common goal to improve patient care.

Pharmacist-owner Josh Borer of Rex Pharmacy in Atlantic, IA was named the 2016 Pharmacy of the Year Grand Prize award recipient. According to Borer, one of the main motivators for him and his staff is the simple desire to better serve the people of his community and help improve their health.

“In our pharmacy we have a ‘why?’ statement, and the crux of it is patient outcomes,” Borer told Drug Store News. “So we sat down and asked ‘Why are we doing this? Why is it important to us? Why is it important to our patients?’ And patient outcomes was the main focus that everyone bought into — that we could actually make a difference with our customers in our community with health outcomes.”

Rex Pharmacy currently has more than 415 patients enrolled in a relatively new medication synchronization program, which has freed up Borer and his staff to add other services that also are helping to drive improved outcomes for its patients. According to Borer, one of the most critical factors for the success of his med sync program has been his staff, which he encouraged to help identify potential patients for the program, so they would have buy-in to the pharmacy’s efforts.

Borer’s highly tenured staff — one of his pharmacists has 25 years with the company — has been a key asset that he inherited when he acquired the 75-year-old pharmacy operation a few years ago.

One of the most recent additions to Rex Pharmacy’s expanding roster of clinical services has been the introduction of a pharmacogenetic testing program, which tests for more than 200 prescription and OTC medications. The store also offers personalized medication reviews, medication therapy management, diabetic shoe fittings and has been working with local providers on transitions of care.

Rex Pharmacy’s collaborative efforts with providers, according to Borer, arose organically from his involvement in the community, particularly his work in quality improvement committees at the local hospital. He views the pharmacy’s offerings as filling white spaces that otherwise go overlooked in patient care.

“I think there are probably a lot of problems out there we could help solve, and being involved helps us identify where there is a need and where there is a place we can fill a gap,” he said.

Hampstead, Md.-based North East regional winner Family Health Mart’s owner Eric Yospa also is driven by a desire to fill gaps in the community’s care — in this case for a community he has been part of his whole life. Opened in 1975, the pharmacy has seen its patient base change from primarily a rural farming community to a larger mix of professionals moving further out from the city as the suburban areas closer to Baltimore have become more crowded and pricey. Yospa said Family Health Mart, with a healthy compounding business, has become a destination for patients seeking hard-to-find medications and dosage forms — and veterinary medications — alongside other clinical services like medication therapy management, which Yospa recently began handling himself.

“Just recently I started doing MTM, and found I really enjoy doing it,” he said. “It takes time but, … because I know [my patients] so well, it's an easy conversation and they're honest about their health, which makes a big difference.”

Like Family Health Mart, Pleasant View, Utah’s, Mountain View pharmacy, West regional winner, offers compounding services, and owner Hal Roe has been as involved in his pharmacies’ communities — he operates a total of five pharmacies in the area — as he has in the independent pharmacy community, participating as a speaker in two recent Health Mart Town Hall meetings about Star Ratings and med sync.

As for South regional award winner Iuka Discount Drugs in Iuka, Miss., owner Chris Cornielson attributes his pharmacy’s many strengths to his staff and the investment he makes in them. Iuka’s unique array of services range from special in-store classes to help seniors choose a Medicare plan to diabetes management and diabetic shoe fittings, immunizations, MTM and other clinical services. In addition the store also found early success in a supplements business called Solutions Rx, Cornielson explained.

“We come into work every morning, and we have a morning huddle and talk about being great and being a world-class team,” Cornielson told Drug Store News. “That's what we strive for. We want to change people's lives in our community, and I really want our customers to know that I've got a great team.”

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C.ROBINSON says:
Jul-03-2016 02:01 pm

Congratulations Josh from everyone at RxCherryPick for such a prestigious award ! It's independent pharmacies like yours that keep our communities in good health Best Regards Craig RxCherryPick

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Best practices, tenacious independent spirit help kick off McKesson ideaShare 2016

BY David Salazar

A crowd of independent pharmacists, owners and various other McKesson customers filled the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago at McCormick Place, Monday afternoon, where McKesson executives welcomed attendees to the Opening General Session of McKesson ideaShare 2016. The event capped off a day filled with continuing education opportunities, marked the official opening of the 2016 McKesson ideaShare Exhibit Floor and saw the crowning of this year’s Health Mart Pharmacy of the Year Award winner.

Mark Walchirk, president of U.S. Pharmaceutical and lifelong Chicagoan, kicked off the program with his own Top 5 list of things to do in Chicago, before turning the stage over to McKesson SVP corporate strategy and business development Chris Dimos, who talked about the current challenges and opportunities facing independent pharmacy owners today.

Dimos presented attendees with four macro trends influencing health care today, underscored the need to change and evolve to meet the demands these forces place on independent pharmacists, and talked about how pharmacy owners can go about making changes in their businesses to follow and create best practices. (For more, see “Leveraging global strategy to help independents navigate macro trends in health care, business”.)

“These forces are happening — there's nothing we can do, we can't just close our eyes and hope it doesn't happen to us,” Dimos said. “We have to evolve our businesses. Our competitors are evolving their businesses, and everybody that we rely on in the healthcare ecosystem is evolving their businesses. … We have to make sure we make the investment in our time, our education, who we are and what we're providing to the patient in order to be differentiated.”

Dimos suggested four strategies independent pharmacy operators should deploy in order to meet the many challenges they face as all of health care moves to a value-based model. He urged independent owners to strengthen core business operations, expand clinical services, form partnerships with local payers and providers, and to develop new streams of revenue. He pointed to the regional winners of the McKesson 2016 Pharmacy of the Year awards  — including Mountain View Pharmacy in Pleasant View, Utah and Iuka Discount Drug in Iuka, Miss. — as examples of companies that were putting these plans into action.

Pharmacy of the Year
Dimos turned the mic over to McKesson SVP and COO U.S. Pharmaceutical Frank Starn and Health Mart president Steve Courtman to announce the Pharmacy of the Year award winner, which this year went to the team at Rex Pharmacy in Atlantic, Iowa.

“Rex Pharmacy has strong community engagement,” Courtman said. The store, which was recently bought by Josh Borer, has been a key part of the community it has served for 75 years.

“They're certainly not running an old-fashioned operation,” Courtman explained. “They have a strong patient focus and rank in the top 20% in all Star ratings measures.” Since Borer purchased the store from a prior Health Mart owner, “the staff is very heavily tenured … and together, they figured out how to evolve the pharmacy, which I think is just tremendous.” (For more, see “McKesson Pharmacy of the Year winners put patient care, community first.”)

“What excites me most about our future is the ability to have more collaborative involvement in patient care,” Borer said in a video. “We knew we had to change our mindset from a reactive approach to really more of a proactive management approach.” As an example of the need to expand clinical services, partner with local stakeholders in the local healthcare ecosystem and find differentiated streams of revenue, one of the newer services Rex Pharmacy has added, pharmacogenetic testing, “has sparked the interest of the local provider community,” leading to a partnership with nearby Cass County Health System.

Exploiting chaos, leveraging community
That community engagement Courtman described at Rex Pharmacy was also a key theme of opening session keynote speaker Jeremy Gutsche, founder of TrendHunter.com and author of the book “Exploiting Chaos: 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change.”

Gutsche shared stories about his father Sig Gutsche, a serial entrepreneur who started early, opening his first business as a boy, selling old fruit from the local grocer door to door. Gutsche’s father went on to own a number of businesses before passing away in 2013 — perhaps most notably as the owner of the Canadian professional football team Calgary Stampeders, who at the time the elder Gutsche had acquired the team, had suffered from dismal attendance. Gutsche’s father righted the ship by reaching out to the community, personally chatting with more than 800 fans and forming a connection with them.

The secret to remarkable success, Gutsche explained exists at the convergence of hard work and overlooked opportunity. He pointed to failed examples like Blockbuster — which gave up on an online streaming business of its own that was giving Netflix fits at the time, to focus on retail — to highlight how past success can feed a most dangerous complacency among top-performing companies that can prove fatal to the business, driving repetitiveness and a protective instinct over what has worked in the past.

According to Gutsche many of the most successful companies in the history of business, from CNN and MTV to Disney and Microsoft, were all created amid times of massive change, exploiting chaos and upheaval to drive innovation and amass massive fortunes.

What separates these types of companies from those that accept the status quo or look to the past instead of the future for innovation, Gutsche explained, is a characteristic that also made his father successful — something he describes as the “hunter instinct,” a desire to fill unmet customer needs, to adapt very quickly to feedback and make changes to the business as a result. This type of thinking has helped propel companies like Zara to grow a $70 billion fashion empire.

It’s also a trait many independent pharmacy owners share, he explained. “In the end, I believe that there's a lot of opportunity in your world,” he said. “You're people like my dad was — talking to people, able to make those human connections. In a world that has become faceless, you are the face of your communities, and that's the reason I believe in you.”

But Gutsche also cautioned attendees not to become victims of their own success and left with an important call to action: “Be insatiable, be curious, be willing to destroy and you'll keep on making the independent pharmacy better and faster.”

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SLIDESHOW: Live from McKesson ideaShare 2016

BY DSN STAFF

McKesson ideaShare 2016 kicked off this year at the McCormick Place in Chicago, June 26 to 30, with continuing education sessions, a packed Exhibit Floor and a dymanic Opening General Session, where Rex Pharmacy was named the Pharmacy of the Year. On Tuesday, executives announced the launch of MyHealthMart at the Health Mart Annual Meeting.

For complete coverage of McKesson ideaShare 2016, click here.

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